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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:02 am 
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I'd say that bass solo in You're So Square is just another thing that adds to Presley's standing as the baddest man that ever lived, but I don't see it as being THAT musically important or noteworthy.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:14 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
Brian wrote:
Brian wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Is Smokey Robinson credited for all the songs he wrote for other artists?

Not under popularity, but because he wrote those songs at he same time that he was a performer, maybe he should under musical impact. I'd be interested in Sampson's take on that.


Bruce wrote:
Carole King was a performer already in the late 50s and early 60s. Maybe not a real successful performer, but a performer nonetheless.

Here's her first single, from 1958:

Image


Brett Alan wrote:
It strikes me that it should be all or nothing. Either we count outside songwriting, or we don't, but to make it dependent upon when it happens in the artist's life relative to when they were recording would be excessively arbitrary.


Generally, it’s musical impact when an artist’s songs are recorded by other artists, because it’s a reaction from other artists to that artist, and it shows that other artists think that artist’s songs are good enough to record. I had more doubt about whether it would count in King’s case than in Robinson’s, but in both cases I had some doubt because the other artists aren’t doing their songs because of their recording careers. Smokey was a songwriter on the Motown staff, supplying songs to The Temptations and Mary Wells just as H-D-H supplied songs to The Supremes and the Four Tops. I don’t think The Temptations and Mary Wells were doing Robinson’s songs in response to The Miracles' recording career, or that The Drifters, The Shirelles, etc., were doing King’s songs in response to King’s recording career. But I would be interested in Sampson’s views on whether these things should be counted toward musical impact.

The Beatles doing “You Really Got a Hold on Me” is a response to The Miracles’ music, so that would definitely count.

Sampson, another question I have about musical impact is whether it counts when an artist’s songs are remade many years later. Musical impact is generally about the immediate response to an artist’s music, and remakes aren’t considered influence, so does that mean that remakes that are done many years later don’t count for any part of the criteria? For example, do The Beatles get no credit for Tiffany’s “I Saw Him Standing There” because it came too late?


No, remakes are like any other outside material - artists looking for hits. With something like the Beatles anyway it's not like you need to count the number of hit remakes to judge their impact, it's pretty obvious.

With writers like Smokey who penned hits for others, or Curtis Mayfield, as opposed to guys like Dylan whose songs were covered without his direct input mostly, these guys actually tailored their songs specifically for other artists, that's tricky. Obviously the writing aspect can't be credited to Mary Wells or Major Lance, but since those records were only further evidence of each guy's writing ability it kind of fits in with their roles as performers. In other words, you're not going to be able to divvy up a percentage about which specific songs of Robinson's elicited what acclaim from other artists. If a guy was writing for himself as well as others, it's his overall songwriting that is going to create the impact most likely.

But again, these are OUR attempts to try and neatly classify things to fit criteria, the real world doesn't do that. People take on different roles and don't think about how each thing they do affects each specific aspect of their career. They're just out to make music. Sometimes we get a little too anal retentive about this, but that's the nature of listmaking.


Yes, there's no question about The Beatles' high musical impact in any case. I was just using "I Saw Him Standing There" as an example. I could just have easily have used a remake of a song written by a different artist.

I'm not sure I understand your response, but if I do understand, the bolded is the most important part of it. Songwriting is an aspect of musical impact, and to be concerned with any of the circumstances of other artists doing an artist's songs is splitting hairs, whether that circumstance is whether or not it's a remake, or how much later the other artists did those songs. Is that what you're saying?


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Negative Creep wrote:
Brian wrote:
Generally, it’s musical impact when an artist’s songs are recorded by other artists, because it’s a reaction from other artists to that artist, and it shows that other artists think that artist’s songs are good enough to record.


So would Guns 'N Roses covering Heartbreak Hotel in their early days score significant musical impact for Elvis?

Since Elvis has very high musical impact anyway, it wouldn't score significantly in proportion to his overall musical impact. The only question is whether it scores insignificantly or not at all. GnR was covering a song that he did, and that he made famous, but that he didn't write.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:29 pm 
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I'd say that's a musical impact moment for Elvis, because GnR did the song out of a love for the version that Elvis made world famous-- although like you said,it hardly even matters; his musical impact is huge already.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Mumei wrote:
Popularity: Mariah > Whitney > Janet, though Whitney's career peak during the Bodyguard Era from 1992 - 1994 was arguably bigger than Mariah's career peak between 1993 and 1996 with the Music Box and Daydream albums. And Mariah and Whitney were both pretty significantly bigger than Janet in terms of popularity in most measures. Records sold? Mariah sold 200+ million (145 million albums / 55 million singles); Whitney sold 170 million; Janet 100 million. Biggest album? Mariah's Music Box at 32 million; Whitney's The Bodyguard soundtrack at 44 million; Janet's janet. at 20 million. Biggest hits? Mariah's One Sweet Day and We Belong Together topped the charts for 16 and 14 weeks respectively; Whitney's I Will Always Love You topped the charts for 13 weeks; Janet's That's The Way Love Goes topped the charts for 8 weeks. And this is (mostly) during the same eras.

And so forth.

I think on most measures of popularity, you will find Mariah > Whitney > Janet, save for the occasional Whitney > Mariah > Janet entry. The only thing I can think of offhand where Janet wins cleanly over Mariah is in touring, and that's arguably because Mariah did not need to do big tours in order to promote her records.


You could certainly make a case for Whitney being more popular than Janet, but there are some measures by which Janet beats Whitney. Whitburn's top 40 singles guide from 2004 lists Janet as the #7 singles artist of all time, with Whitney at #11. Whitney has no top 40 singles since then, and Janet has 2. Janet has spent 33 weeks at #1 on the US singles chart; Whitney has spent 31. Janet has 24 US top 10 singles; Whitney has 23.

I consider worldwide sales figues to be unreliable, though I agree that The Bodyguard beats Janet in popularity. Whitney might beat Janet in popularity overall even by the way I measure it, but I don't think the difference between the two is very big.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 3:18 pm 
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Brian wrote:
I consider worldwide sales figues to be unreliable, though I agree that The Bodyguard beats Janet in popularity. Whitney might beat Janet in popularity overall even by the way I measure it, but I don't think the difference between the two is very big.

I agree.
As already discussed, Mariah, Whitney and Janet are close to a tie, in overall.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 7:41 pm 
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Sampson wrote:

Meanwhile, in your other example, Elvis has a good deal of primary influence though (rockabilly, power ballads, electric bass solos - I'm looking, but haven't found an earlier example than his in rock, if I do, I'd change that), and obviously in terms of cultural influence he's off the charts. So yeah, primary influence is the single biggest achievement you can get for anything, but there's not always much of it to go around and so the secondary influence is what ultimately will wind up affecting the rankings the most overall and as you state, the more popular artists have the built-in ability to achieve that more than most. As long as nobody discounts the greater credit for primary influence and the original innovation.


See, where I disagree with you is this: if we do find some obscure record from 1955 with a bass solo, I don't believe that that artist ought to get as much credit, or more, for that than Elvis. Because it's much more likely that people are doing electric bass solos because Elvis did one than because that other guy did one. That guy *might* deserve substantial credit *if* Elvis got the idea from him. Or maybe not.

In the case of rockabilly, I don't think there's any definition of rockabilly you could come up with where Elvis' first Sun record was the first record that qualifies. But Elvis didn't need to do it first to be the one who defined the genre, and therefore to be the primary person who gets credit for that influence.

I have no idea how you're defining "power ballads" here.

Sampson wrote:
OH... and one last good thing about this debate is with people suggesting it's impossible to have every recording and so forth, isn't that the goal of all this? These lists, this site, these conversations? To discover as much music as humanly possible, to hear it all and understand how it evolved and how it all ties together? I think of all the four criteria we have, the way influence is credited offers the most opportunity to actually discover things you otherwise wouldn't hear or even look into.


Hmmm...I don't know, I was talking about what's possible, not what's desirable. If I had the means to spend huge amounts of time listening to music, would I try to listen to everything? I don't know.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Brett Alan wrote:
In the case of rockabilly, I don't think there's any definition of rockabilly you could come up with where Elvis' first Sun record was the first record that qualifies.



Sure there is.

The Charlies Feathers definition which says that "If there's drums, or violins, or steel guitars, it's not rockabilly."

The Bill Haley stuff on Essex is considered rockabilly by some, but not by rockabilly purists. If there's anything other than an acoustic bass, a lead guitar and a rhythm guitar, it's not considered to be rockabilly by the purists. If the record has a piano some purists do not consider it to be rockabilly. Jerry Lee is considered to be plain rock and roll rather than rockabilly, by these pursists.

What record would you offer up as being rockabilly from before "That's All Right" b/w "Blue Moon Of Kentucky?"


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:08 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
Brett Alan wrote:
In the case of rockabilly, I don't think there's any definition of rockabilly you could come up with where Elvis' first Sun record was the first record that qualifies.



Sure there is.

The Charlies Feathers definition which says that "If there's drums, or violins, or steel guitars, it's not rockabilly."

The Bill Haley stuff on Essex is considered rockabilly by some, but not by rockabilly purists. If there's anything other than an acoustic bass, a lead guitar and a rhythm guitar, it's not considered to be rockabilly by the purists. If the record has a piano some purists do not consider it to be rockabilly. Jerry Lee is considered to be plain rock and roll rather than rockabilly, by these pursists.

What record would you offer up as being rockabilly from before "That's All Right" b/w "Blue Moon Of Kentucky?"


Beats me. I'm far from an expert on these things. But I'm sure someone made a record with just acoustic bass, lead guitar, and rhythm guitar before that. And even if I'm wrong--my point is, it doesn't matter. If we find such a record, it doesn't change the fact that it was Elvis who made that the standard. It was Elvis whom everyone else was influenced by.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:19 pm 
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Brett Alan wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Brett Alan wrote:
In the case of rockabilly, I don't think there's any definition of rockabilly you could come up with where Elvis' first Sun record was the first record that qualifies.



Sure there is.

The Charlies Feathers definition which says that "If there's drums, or violins, or steel guitars, it's not rockabilly."

The Bill Haley stuff on Essex is considered rockabilly by some, but not by rockabilly purists. If there's anything other than an acoustic bass, a lead guitar and a rhythm guitar, it's not considered to be rockabilly by the purists. If the record has a piano some purists do not consider it to be rockabilly. Jerry Lee is considered to be plain rock and roll rather than rockabilly, by these pursists.

What record would you offer up as being rockabilly from before "That's All Right" b/w "Blue Moon Of Kentucky?"


Beats me. I'm far from an expert on these things. But I'm sure someone made a record with just acoustic bass, lead guitar, and rhythm guitar before that. And even if I'm wrong--my point is, it doesn't matter. If we find such a record, it doesn't change the fact that it was Elvis who made that the standard. It was Elvis whom everyone else was influenced by.


If that were the case then Presley would get enormous secondary influence for it instead. You can't say someone gets primary influence if they were the first and made it famous, but if they were not first they should get just as much credit anyway, otherwise you're crediting that person no matter what the evidence supports, which is subjective and the very thing that ruins lists. You need to start with set criteria and then stick with it, even if what you discover changes your view on things. That's the only fair way to do it.

I think the problem remains that people want to have a list that SEEMS right and then finagle the criteria to support it rather than establish criteria and let the chips fall where they may.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Brian wrote:
Sampson wrote:
With writers like Smokey who penned hits for others, or Curtis Mayfield, as opposed to guys like Dylan whose songs were covered without his direct input mostly, these guys actually tailored their songs specifically for other artists, that's tricky. Obviously the writing aspect can't be credited to Mary Wells or Major Lance, but since those records were only further evidence of each guy's writing ability it kind of fits in with their roles as performers. In other words, you're not going to be able to divvy up a percentage about which specific songs of Robinson's elicited what acclaim from other artists. If a guy was writing for himself as well as others, it's his overall songwriting that is going to create the impact most likely.

But again, these are OUR attempts to try and neatly classify things to fit criteria, the real world doesn't do that. People take on different roles and don't think about how each thing they do affects each specific aspect of their career. They're just out to make music. Sometimes we get a little too anal retentive about this, but that's the nature of listmaking.


Yes, there's no question about The Beatles' high musical impact in any case. I was just using "I Saw Him Standing There" as an example. I could just have easily have used a remake of a song written by a different artist.

I'm not sure I understand your response, but if I do understand, the bolded is the most important part of it. Songwriting is an aspect of musical impact, and to be concerned with any of the circumstances of other artists doing an artist's songs is splitting hairs, whether that circumstance is whether or not it's a remake, or how much later the other artists did those songs. Is that what you're saying?



I'm not really big on remakes having any real impact, I think people are drastically overrating that. Artists choose to do songs for so many different reasons that you can't assume it's because of some affinity for the original performer. I highly doubt the Cleftones were even aware of Hoagy Carmichael when they cut Heart & Soul and turned it into a rock classic, let alone thought he was brilliant. It was just a good song, that's all. People today are way too wrapped up in remakes of songs as if they mean something more than that.

But what I WAS trying to say was that artists who also wrote songs for others - Chuck Willis, Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, Bruce Springsteen, etc. - did get a lot of respect from their peers for their songwriting ability as a whole and therefore those songs (for example: Oh What A Dream written by Willis for Ruth Brown; My Girl written by Smokey for the Temptations, The Monkey Time written by Mayfield for Major Lance, Fire written by Springsteen for Elvis Presley, who died before he could be presented with it, then done by Robert Gordon and eventually the hit version by the Pointer Sisters) are surely factoring in to their overall acclaim from other artists. But since we're not giving individual credit for each specific song it doesn't really matter at all who they were written for. If an artist is lauded for their writing ability it's gonna show up in their Musical Impact regardless of how many songs they wrote for others.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:49 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
Brett Alan wrote:
Beats me. I'm far from an expert on these things. But I'm sure someone made a record with just acoustic bass, lead guitar, and rhythm guitar before that. And even if I'm wrong--my point is, it doesn't matter. If we find such a record, it doesn't change the fact that it was Elvis who made that the standard. It was Elvis whom everyone else was influenced by.


If that were the case then Presley would get enormous secondary influence for it instead. You can't say someone gets primary influence if they were the first and made it famous, but if they were not first they should get just as much credit anyway, otherwise you're crediting that person no matter what the evidence supports, which is subjective and the very thing that ruins lists. You need to start with set criteria and then stick with it, even if what you discover changes your view on things. That's the only fair way to do it.

I think the problem remains that people want to have a list that SEEMS right and then finagle the criteria to support it rather than establish criteria and let the chips fall where they may.


I'm not trying to finagle any criteria. I'm not arguing for any particular result here. I'm just saying that I don't like your criteria. You're basing influence on who did it first, and your own stated reason for that is that it's hard to determine who actually had the influence. I think that's the wrong way to go about.

I think your way of doing it is much MORE subject to finagling. Right here we've been talking about different definitions of rockabilly. If we define it by instrumental lineup, then maybe Elvis made the first rockabilly record. If we define in terms of style, that it's a certain mix of R&B and country influences, then he didn't. Why should that matter, when the plain fact is that it was Elvis that defined what the style became and influenced the vast majority of those who followed?

And then there's Clash's point about live performances, which happens to be directly on point here. Johnny and Dorsey Burnette were performing with Paul Burlison by 1953, with exactly that instrumental lineup of lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and acoustic bass, with no other instruments (at least some of the time). So why does Elvis get "primary influence" because he was the first one to get it on record? Why should things be changed one iota if "You're Undecided" had been recorded before "That's All Right"? (Indeed, there seem to be some sources that claim that it was, although I gather that this is suspect.) Why is it that if you found a record made with that lineup in, say, Georgia, that you'd credit that for influence even if it was highly unlikely that Elvis had never heard it, but an artist Elvis was aware of in his hometown doesn't get credit for his live performances? We shouldn't be adjusting the criteria based on what's easy to verify.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:57 pm 
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Brett Alan wrote:
Why should things be changed one iota if "You're Undecided" had been recorded before "That's All Right"?


The problem here is that the early version of "You're Undecided" is not rockabilly at all, but straight country. Same thing for the flip side, which has a fiddle as the lead instrument.






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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 12:06 am 
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Other than Elvis, here's the only real rockabilly record that I have from 1954. It was reviewed the same week as the second Elvis single on Sun, early November of 1954. And even this has a piano break which would kill it as rockabilly for some real hard corers.



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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 7:49 am 
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Bruce, you once posted a Bill Haley tune from 1952 that was rockabilly, I think in order to prove that Haley did it first.
Do you remember what song it was? I remember Clash really liked it...


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